Chairman:  Sir Peter Middleton GCB


Sir Peter Middleton GCB (age 67) was appointed as Chairman at the 1999 annual general meeting. Sir Peter joined the Board in 1991 as Deputy Chairman and Chairman of BZW. This followed a long career in HM Treasury where he was Permanent Secretary from 1983 to 1991. He became Chairman of Barclays Capital following the reorganisation of BZW in October 1997. In May 1998, he relinquished his executive responsibilities as Deputy Chairman and Chairman of Barclays Capital but remained a non-executive Director. He resumed executive responsibilities when he was appointed Group Chief Executive and reappointed Group Deputy Chairman in November 1998. He stepped down as Group Chief Executive following the appointment of Matthew Barrett in October 1999. He is Deputy Chairman of United Utilities PLC, Chancellor of Sheffield University and a member of the Financial Reporting Council. He is Chairman of the Board Nominations Committee and a member of the Board Risk Committee.

Group Chief Executive:  Matthew William Barrett

Matthew William Barrett (age 57) was appointed Group Chief Executive and joined the Board in 1999. He joined Barclays from Bank of Montreal where he was Chairman and, until February 1999, Chief Executive Officer. He joined the Bank of Montreal in 1962 and during his career held a variety of senior management positions in different areas within the Bank, including Retail Banking, International Banking and Treasury. He was appointed Chief Operating Officer in 1987, Chief Executive Officer in 1989 and elected Chairman of the Board in 1990. In 1994, he became an Officer of the Order of Canada, the country's highest civilian honour, and in 1995 he was awarded the title of Canada's Outstanding CEO of the Year. He has been a non-executive Director of The Molson Companies Limited since 1992 and was also a non-executive Director of The Seagram Company Limited from 1995 until December 2000. He is a member of the Board Risk Committee.



F.A.O. The Chairman                                                        Recorded Delivery


Co. No. 03295699
E14 5HP  
                                                                               7 November 2005


Dear Chairman


Administration Charges Woolwich Subsidiary, Eastbourne


I write with reference to two letters from your subsidiary The Woolwich dated 1st and 3rd November 2005, copies enclosed.


I have been a reliable customer with the Eastbourne branch for some 15 years or more.  On the 31st October I deposited 864 by cheque from the Prudential.  This cheque should have cleared on the 2nd November.  A copy of the deposit slip is enclosed.


In between these dates The Woolwich claimed two 30 administration charges citing Effects Not Cleared, dated 1st Nov and 3rd Nov.  It appears to me that any reasonable company operating for the benefit of the customer, would have held off honouring these payments, since it was obvious that monies were coming from a reputable source. 


Regardless, of the duty to provide an effective service to myself, 60 was taken from my account in respect of two cheques issued totalling some 145.  This must surely make your bank the most expensive service in Europe, and I wonder if this sort of conduct is becoming an institution, which, supposedly puts its members interests before profit?


Before passing this matter to the Banking Ombudsman, could I please have your substantive comments at your earliest convenience.


Please note a copy of this letter will be posted at and  as will your reply or absense of reply and any correspondence from other regulatory bodies.


Yours sincerely






Nelson Kruschandl








Building societies are owned by their members for the benefit of both saving and borrowing members. But building societies have been merging, have been taken over by banks and have turned themselves into banks. This study looks at what is taking place, and why.

It is one of a series of eight studies of co-operatives and mutual societies which were undertaken to determine causes of failure and reasons for success, to see how these enterprises were controlled and managed, to learn from the mistakes of others. What is taking place is fascinating and often unexpected.


The main report 'Co-operatives: Causes of Failure, Guidelines for Success' is based on these studies. Its conclusions and recommendations are entirely relevant and cover fundamental and practical problems of co-ops and mutual societies, of members, of direction, management and control.



The first building societies were formed about 200 years ago when some people got together to co-operate with each other in building their own houses. Members regularly contributed to the society and built the houses together. Each completed house was allocated by lottery to a member. They carried on until each member had his own house. The society, the house-building co-operative, was then dissolved.


After a while building societies began to borrow money from investors to build houses more quickly and this was the start of permanent building societies, now simply called building societies.  Then about 100 years ago, most UK building societies stopped building houses and concentrated on providing capital for building houses, on providing mortgages.

Building societies are mutual societies, are owned by their members for the benefit of members, that is of both savers and borrowers alike.

Many people are tied for life to paying rent to, and so working for, profit-seeking landlords who are able to increase rents largely at will and who are thus absorbing any gains in income.   The building society movement, however, has enabled a massive number of people in the UK to own their own homes. It has been giving people something to work for and a sense of achievement from living in a house of one's own, enabling them also to save and provide for retirement and old age.


In the UK at this time are 80 building societies with 5,500 branches, having between them something like 30 million accounts (savers and borrowers) and assets of GBP 262 billion. Their net profits of GBP 1 billion amount to a net profit per account of GBP 35.

UK legislation regulates what building societies may, or may not, do. When banks started to offer mortgages, building societies were enabled by legislation to compete with banks by providing personal loans and other financial services such as current accounts. But building societies have been merging, been taken over by banks and have turned themselves into banks. Their number is reducing and branches are being closed down.  So here in this study we take a close look at what is happening by means of case-studies and draw some relevant conclusions.





While banks concentrate on maximising rewards for directors and profits for shareholders, a building society provides a service to its members. Building societies, however, have retained surplus funds and over the years built up massive reserves. Over 150 years, for example, UK building societies built up GBP 14.3 billion of reserves. There is much concern that this is being dissipated by conversions and takeovers.


Reserves increased to GBP 16 billion during 1994/95 and the Building Societies Commission in its annual report re-emphasised the need for societies to explore ways of distributing excess capital to members. While some societies have launched loyalty bonus schemes, others are considering paying a regular dividend, by issuing some form of share.


Maria Scott, writing in the Observer, said Building societies generally pay better returns than banks. But is the difference enough? Building society directors have paid lip-service to the ideals of mutuality for years. Even now, under siege from aggressive outsiders, none has come up with a way to release their substantial accumulated profits to members that would mark them out from High Street banks. Instead, they cut savings rates at the first opportunity.


A public company would, typically, pay half its post-tax profits to shareholders in dividends. If societies chose this measure, customers could expect somewhere between GBP 15 and 20 per account each year. However, building societies are not expected to follow this model and most argue that any annual dividend-style distribution would fail to impress customers.  Instead, they are working on schemes such as that announced by Bradford and Bingley last week that will pay sums running into hundreds of pounds but only if the investor keeps the account open for a few years.






What has been and is taking place seems to be as follows:



Banks concentrate on maximising rewards for directors and profits for shareholders.


A building society is a mutual society owned by its members. Both depositors (lenders) and borrowers are members. The mutual interest between lenders and borrowers is that profits are shared out between them. Compared with banks, the lender gets more and the borrower pays less.


Building societies have been retaining some of their surpluses and over 150 years have built up massive reserves.


A mutual society is run for the benefit of its members and its reserves were accumulated for the purpose of better serving its members and the community.

And so building societies became big, influential and powerful.





Name & Registered Office:

E14 5HP

Company No. 01026167



Status: Active
Date of Incorporation: 04/10/1971

Country of Origin: United Kingdom

Company Type: Public Limited Company
Nature of Business (SIC(03)):
6511 - Central banking

Accounting Reference Date: 31/12
Last Accounts Made Up To: 31/12/2004  (GROUP)
Next Accounts Due: 31/07/2006
Last Return Made Up To: 30/09/2005
Next Return Due: 28/10/2006

Last Members List: 30/09/2005
Last Bulk Shareholders List: 30/09/1999 


Previous Names:

Date of change

Previous Name





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